Astronomically speaking, the Galileoscope™ is a tool, plus you get to build it (although it’s apparently a “no-tools assembly” that takes “5 minutes or less” — everything snaps together). At $15 plus shipping, the price seems incredible. Designed as a kit for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009), the Galileoscope™ claims to offer “features usually seen only on commercial instruments costing 10 times more.”
It’s a 50-mm diameter, 25- to 50-power achromatic refractor with a standard ¼-20 tripod mounting nut that you can use to see lunar craters, Jupiter and four of its moons, and other celestial wonders. Many more details are on its website. Shown below is a simulation of its moon view at 50×.
While binoculars can be a good and easy bet for viewing larger celestial objects, it’s always handy to have a more stable and versatile telescope — and it’s an inexpensive way to introduce the kids to backyard astronomy.